The Metropolitan Police Department reported its officers, while trying to clear the Capitol grounds about 7 p.m. on Jan. 6, arrested and charged a 33-year-old Maryland man with the federal offense of carrying a fully loaded 9mm semi-automatic handgun on Capitol grounds.
Social media posts claiming that protesters were not armed also do not address the issue of other weapons used by assailants at the Capitol — or the seizure of guns from supporters before and after the riot.
In legal terms, “armed” means being in possession of any weapon, not just a firearm. While there are laws that specifically address firearms, weapons can include virtually any object used to threaten or cause harm.
According to a database compiled by NPR, of the people charged with violent offenses, including assault on police officers, 15 were armed with deadly or dangerous weapons during the riot at the Capitol.
Eight others facing civil disorder or property destruction charges also were charged with possessing weapons, according to the database.
Those weapons included baseball bats, chemical sprays, a captured police officer’s riot shield, a crowbar, fire extinguishers and a metal flagpole.
Before and after the storming of the Capitol, NBC News reported, police seized a dozen firearms, including an assault rifle, and thousands of rounds of ammunition from seven people attending the rally for President Donald Trump in Washington, D.C. Other weapons included a crossbow, a stun gun and 11 Molotov cocktails.
The FBI, in a statement to FactCheck.org on March 5, said Sanborn had testified “in her capacity as the FBI Assistant Director of the Counterterrorism Division. Her responses were restricted to FBI investigative matters and she appropriately deferred to other law enforcement partners for their information.”
Asha Rangappa, an attorney and former FBI agent, told us in an email that she did “not see the logic” in the claim that firearms had to be present for the Capitol riot to have been deemed an armed insurrection.
She also said we will never know how many rioters might have been armed with guns on Jan. 6, because only some were arrested that day.